Crowding-Out or Crowding-In? The Effect of a Social Cash Transfer on Informal Support in Ghana

Marlous de Milliano , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Clare Barrington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sudhanshu Handa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gustavo Angeles, National Institute of Public Health (INSP), Mexico and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social protection programs are not introduced in a vacuum and it is important to understand the effects on existing informal networks of support. We use data from a longitudinal, quasi-experimental, mixed-method impact evaluation of Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 program, a social cash transfer program for pregnant women or mothers with a child below age one living in poverty, to estimate the impact of the program on social support. Using a difference-in-differences approach we find that LEAP 1000 increases social support. A positive single difference effect on group membership suggests that part of the change in social support comes from increased engagement outside the household. Findings of qualitative interviews confirm these findings with increased opportunities for support through improved access to financial markets and increased group participation. In short, the LEAP 1000 crowds-in additional social support within the household and community rather than crowding-out existing sources of support.

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 Presented in Session 252. Mixed Methods